"Half of UK carbon emissions are produced by work activity. Workplaces burn energy, consume resources and generate waste and travel." Greening the Workplace, TUC Workplace Manual 2012
On these pages you'll find news, tips and useful information, campaigns and PCS policy on green issues such as climate change, energy, waste and recycling.
We believe that green or sustainable workplaces should also take on board wider issues such as ethical investment, fair trade and workers' rights.
PCS National Executive Committee declares a climate emergency
At its meeting on 25 June, the PCS national executive committee (NEC) declared a climate emergency on behalf of members. Full text of the declaration:
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) is formally declaring a climate emergency on behalf of its members. This declaration is in accordance with the resolution (A312) passed at annual delegate conference in May 2019.
This declaration is made in recognition of the 2018 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which calls for a rapid and radical transformation of our economies by 2030 if we are to stabilise the climate; the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report of May 2019 that warns of accelerating species extinction; the environment and climate emergency declaration of the UK Parliament, the Welsh Government, political parties, a growing number of local authorities, and cultural institutions; the demands of Extinction Rebellion; the UK wide student protests as part of the global student climate strikes.
PCS believes it is incumbent on trade unions to lead in making the case for radical action in support of a zero carbon emissions target by 2030. As a trade union our primary objective will always be to protect members’ jobs. In a climate emergency we assert the best way to do that is to create or repurpose jobs to combat the environmental and climate crisis.
PCS asserts this requires a ‘whole economy’ approach that restructures every aspect of social and economic life towards protection and restoration of the planet and its resources. PCS is also clear that this cannot be realised if left to the markets and a private sector-dominated economy. Public ownership and democratic control of public goods – energy, transport, health, education, housing, forestry and other sectors - is an essential prerequisite to combat climate change at the scale and pace required.
In achieving these aims, PCS calls for the establishment of a National Climate Service as part of the wider one million climate jobs initiative, and as set out in the PCS Energy Democracy and Just Transition pamphlet; and to ensure a fully funded and staffed civil service and wider public service able to coordinate and deliver the action required.
Further the NEC through its Climate Change and Environment Committee (CCEC) will consult with groups, branches, PMA and equality groups to elaborate a practical plan to take forward these aims. This will include encouraging the appointment of green reps and to request facility time to support their role; to demand that Green Forums are set up in workplaces with Trade Union representation to discuss and agree urgent measures to reduce workplace carbon emissions; to develop model motions for use in branches, groups, regions, nations and other forums to support the demands for all PCS employers to declare a climate emergency.
The NEC agree to report back to members in six months of this declaration.
Find out more about PCS's green work and sign up to the green e-news updates
PCS is part of a growing movement demanding economic, social, and environmental justice for workers and communities for unionised zero carbon economy.
There are many ways to get involved on climate issues: at the workplace becoming a green rep, raising through trades councils and anti-cuts groups, attending meetings and joining local campaigns.
If you're thinking of becoming a PCS green rep, or you are new to the role, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how the union can support you in your role. This includes putting you in touch with other green reps in your region.
To find out more about PCS's green work and to sign-up to the PCS green e-news bulletin, please email email@example.com.